They say that the number one reason couples break up is because of financial issues. So how do you have a marriage where money matters, without divorcing over money matters?
At first, the answer may seem obvious: both of you need to sit down and come up with a plan that works for you. Put the majority of money after bills into savings, then have some fun money for both of you, etc.
But also, some couples are deciding to separate their finances more than that, believing it will be better for the health of their marriage and for avoiding resentment in the long run. Some people agree with this, some people disagree. Let me lay out the pros and cons!
Separating finances even in marriage COULD be a way to avoid arguments if you know the two of you have very different outlooks on spending. But I also think it kind of undermines the idea of marriage. I think if you had problems with someone’s debt or their spending habits, you should have addressed that BEFORE getting married, and after you get married, you agree to tackle it together. I mean, that’s what becoming one partnership is, right? Sharing these things and each taking on responsibility for joint finances…
On the other hand, as MarketWatch writer Jared Dillan argues, if the two of you are compatible in every other way but just can’t see eye-to-eye on spending habits, then it is true that money matters are best handled with separate finances. His reasoning for this is that people are psychologically hard-wired to be either a spender or a saver. So if neither person can actually help their habits, or even wants to, then maybe it’s true that separating finances is the right thing to do…
But let me concentrate on that for a second. If somebody is either naturally a spender or saver, and they can’t change their ways, then how else can you two work on it?
Because at that point, it’s basically a disagreement in lifestyle, right? One or both people will be resentful of the amount of spending happening (whether they think it’s too little or too much).
That’s actually why I think combining finances is good, though. Because then, both parties have to learn to compromise. Developing those skills out of respect for your partner is always a good thing!
The problem only happens when one or both parties refuses to compromise.
Barring that, you could use a tried-and-true method of budgeting, like the 50 / 30 / 20 rule (spending 50% on needs, 30% on wants, and then saving 20%) and then tweaking it from there to best fit your situation.
The best way to handle money matters in your marriage is to not let it come between you two in a fundamental way.
That sounds obvious, but let me explain what I mean: so much of this is about personality differences, which mean it’s important to not make it, well, personal. Some people are spenders and some people are savers, but there are so many OTHER things you two are compatible on, right? That should make it easy to talk it out civilly and come to a compromise.
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